How’dy USA

In US economic data on Friday industrial production rose 0.1% in February (forecast +0.4%). Consumer sentiment rose from 93.8 to 97.8 in March (forecast 95.3). Job openings (as measured by the JOLTS series) rose from 7.479 million to 7.581 million in January (forecast 7.31m). Capital outflows rose from US$113.5 billion to US$143.7bn in January. The Empire State manufacturing index fell from +8.8 to +3.7 points in March (forecast +10)

The US share markets rose on Friday. Reuters reports China's state-run Xinhua news agency as saying that "Washington and Beijing were making substantive progress on trade talks, providing relief after news that a summit to seal a deal between the two sides would not happen at March-end." The Dow Jones index rose by 139 points or 0.5%. The S&P500 index rose 0.5%. And the Nasdaq index rose by almost 58 points or 0.8%. Over the week the Dow rose by 1.6%, the S&P 500 lifted 2.9% and the Nasdaq gained 3.8%.

US treasuries rose on Friday (yields lower) in response to softer economic data. Traders look ahead to the US Federal Reserve meeting over Tuesday and Wednesday. US 2-year yields fell by 2 points to 2.44% and US 10-year yields fell by 4 points to 2.59%. Over the week US 2-year yields fell by 1 point and US 10-year yields were down by 3.5 points.

Bonjour Europe

European share markets rose on Friday to 5-month highs. Investors were comforted by the week's Brexit votes. There was also news of progress on US-China trade talks. The pan-European STOXX600 index rose by 0.7%. The German Dax gained 0.9% and the UK FTSE was up by 0.6%. In London trade, shares of Rio Tinto fell by 0.4% while BHP fell by 0.7%.

Hello, world!

Major currencies were mixed against the US dollar in US and European trade compared with the Asia close. The Euro held between US$1.1300 to US$1.1340 and was near US$1.1325 in late US trade. The Aussie dollar held between US70.70 cents and US70.95 cents and was near US70.88 cents in late US trade. And the Japanese yen rose from 111.75 yen per US dollar to JPY111.40 and was near JPY111.45 in late US trade.

Global oil prices fell just slightly on Friday. The International Energy Agency said on Friday that the market could show a modest surplus in the first quarter of 2019 before flipping into a deficit in the second quarter by about 0.5 million barrels per day. Investors weighed higher US production, OPEC production cuts, a slower global economy and Chinese economic stimulus. Brent crude fell by US7 cents or 0.1% to US$67.16 a barrel and the US Nymex price fell by US9 cents or 0.2% to US$58.52 a barrel. Over the week Brent rose 2.2% with Nymex up 4.4%.

Base metal prices were generally lower on Friday. Lead lost 2.5% and zinc fell 1.7%. But copper and nickel rose by almost 0.5%. Over the week metals were mixed with zinc, aluminium and copper up by as much as 3.9% while other metals fell by around 1.4%.

The gold futures price rose by US$7.80 an ounce or 0.6% to $1,302.90 an ounce on Friday. The spot gold price was near US$1,301 an ounce in late US trade. Over the week gold rose by US$3.60 or 0.3%. Iron ore fell by US90 cents or 1.0% on Friday to US$86.20 a tonne. Over the week iron ore rose by US$1.35 or 1.6%.

G’day Australia

In Australia no major data is expected. In the US the National Association of Home Builders index is released.